And the World's Ugliest Color Is...

Written by Derrick Clark


Posted on June 20 2016

Color plays an important role in the world around us. Color can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure or suppress your appetite.

Apparently, there's one such color that has the power to "minimize appeal" and "maximize perceived harm". What's that color and how do we know this?

Worlds Ugliest Color

The Ugliest Color

The winner of the ugliest color award goes to Pantone 448 C, also called "opaque couche".

Back in 2012, the Australian government hired research agency GfK to spearhead the new package design for all tobacco products. But instead of the marketing firm's usual goal, they had to accomplish the opposite. Every carton had to look as unappealing as possible.

It took three months, seven studies, and more than 1000 regular smokers, but the researchers finally determined the most offensive color to print alongside new graphic health warnings. Also in the running? Lime green, white, beige, dark gray, and mustard. Dark brown came in a close second, but its rich undertones seemed too appetizing — similar to medium olive's "classy" associations. 

Thanks to Australia and GfK's colorful breakthrough, other governments are also adopting the shade. Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France recently passed "plain packaging" laws of their own, with mockups featuring the same exact hue.

Perhaps opaque couché might get a better reputation for all the lives it could possibly help save. 



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